Best Defense

Firings, reliefs, and military misdeeds: The hits just keep on coming, for some reason

This month's hall of shame.

Stephanie Smith, human cannonball at the Royal Melbourne Show, 2005. (WIkimedia Commons)
Stephanie Smith, human cannonball at the Royal Melbourne Show, 2005. (WIkimedia Commons)

Wow. This is the third such roundup in just over a month:

— Craig Whitlock uncovered a hidden case in which an Air Force colonel harassed the hell out of a subordinate female civilian, including sending her recordings of him masturbating. (Official Best Defense finding: The Air Force didn’t charge the colonel and instead allowed him to quietly retire at a lower grade. In other words, when the generals don’t do their jobs, and the IG seemingly can’t — well, that’s when the media can be a real help.)

— An Army lieutenant colonel who was deputy director of cyber operations at Fort Gordon, Georgia., got eight years in the slammer for child porn. (Official Best Defense question: Shouldn’t a cyber operator be good enough at his job to prevent investigators from finding such evidence on his own computer?)

— Over in the Royal Navy, a kind of twofer relief occurred: Both the commander of a submarine and his XO got the big boot for having inappropriately close relationships with female subordinates. What happens when the boat goes down was supposed to stay on the boat, except five other officers on the boat complained.

— Always competitive, the Marine Corps relieved three of the top leaders of its 25th Regiment, a reserve unit.

— In the U.S. Navy, Capt. Adam Aycock, whilst commanding the USS Shiloh, sentenced seven sailors to time in the brig on diets of bread and water. No evidence of floggings to improve morale, though.

Photo credit: (Wikimedia Commons)

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at Twitter: @tomricks1

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